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Danny

Rockets at HEAT Official Game Thread and Preview

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(Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon)

The Miami HEAT return to action tonight against the Houston Rockets. The HEAT lead the Eastern Conference with a 31-14 record. The Rockets are 27-23 and are currently holding down the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Tip off is set for 7:30 PM; coverage on Sun Sports starts at 7 PM.

1: Will Houston make the playoffs?

Couper Moorhead: They are a half game up on Portland right now for the eighth spot, but given Portland’s tough upcoming schedule and point differential below zero, the Rockets should be able to hold them off over the next couple of months. It’s probably going to come down to Utah, Houston and the Lakers for the final two playoffs spots in the West, and while Utah is in seventh right now they also are being outscored over the course of the season. We can’t really project this situation properly right now since all three teams will be very active during the weeks leading up to the trading deadline. For all we know, each team could either trade or acquire an All-Star.

Danny Martinez: Right now there are four teams playing for two spots. Of those four –the other teams being the Lakers, Blazers and Jazz—I believe the Rockets are the best team. They have the best point differential and I think they’ve got room for growth, whether through a trade or just internally. The Lakers are suffering from injuries, the Blazers are probably playing above their true talent level and the Jazz have some big roster decisions and a tough schedule looming. I like the Rockets’ chances.

2: Why don’t more teams play like Houston, taking most of their shots from three or at the rim?

Couper: Well, it starts with personnel. Part of the reason the Rockets can play like this is because James Harden has some incredible shot selection. It’s not like Houston was playing like this last year, after all. But credit them for taking advantage of available players and focusing on the most efficient shots in the game – layups, dunks and threes. Some teams may not believe in newer data, still, but no matter what you know and how you build a gameplan, you still need the players to execute that plan.

Danny: Houston’s organization is unique. They have constructed their roster to take advantage of basketball’s high-value scoring opportunities that are threes, shots at the rim and free throws. While they are an extreme case, they’re not all that different from the Nuggets. And as time goes on, we’ll see more teams drift towards the poles of the offensive side of the court. In fact, we’ve seen the HEAT hop on the trend the last few seasons, especially when they go small.

3: Have Jeremy Lin and James Harden figured out how to play together?

Couper: They’re better – it makes sense that a few more months together makes them a little more comfortable with one another – but the greatest change came earlier in the season when Kevin McHale began staggering their minutes more, giving each a unit of his own in which to run pick-and-rolls as much as they please. It’s still not perfect, but if Lin can start hitting threes at a league average rate that will alleviate many of the issues they have.

Danny: It’s not perfect, but nothing in life is. James Harden has played with two players in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook that are high usage ball handlers. Lin’s at his best when he’s using a lot of possessions as the primary ball handler. It was always going to take time that they’re making progress isn’t that surprising. For the Rockets to take it to the next level, both Harden and Lin will have to continue to adjust their games. I’m not putting it past them.

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well be fine in this game as long as were defending the three point land.

note: The Beard and Houston folks just knockdown 23 three pointers last night.

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Heat should purposely lose and help this borderline playoff team block the Lakers path to playoffs <_<

LET MISTER BLACK HISTORY MONTH PLAYER JEREMY LIN OWN MARIO CHALMERS

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It would be a first for Lin...

edit: I was reading the twitter crap on ESPN and someone mentioned Bosh being out? Is that true?

double edit: lol Yeah, Bosh is out with the flu.

Darn. Just when dude was starting to ball again.

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Why not put Joel in the starting lineup? How could it hurt? I just don't get why Anthony is not part of the rotations. The only knock on him is he is offensively challenged, but Haslem in his present form isn't much better. I just don't get it.

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It would be a first for Lin...

edit: I was reading the twitter crap on ESPN and someone mentioned Bosh being out? Is that true?

double edit: lol Yeah, Bosh is out with the flu.

Darn. Just when dude was starting to ball again.

So we should expect Dwayne and Lebron to have nights soon too ha ha. My guess ankle strain and cramps.

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No Bosh..... FML. Shooters need to make their shots and Wade is going to have to play great at both ends in order to get the win. Spo should start Joel at center with Battier at PF.

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Heat should purposely lose and help this borderline playoff team block the Lakers path to playoffs <_<

LET MISTER BLACK HISTORY MONTH PLAYER JEREMY LIN OWN MARIO CHALMERS

I would not mind if that happens....hahahahaha! So far MIA HEAT has been losing to them. The LAKERS are gunning for them hoping to knock one of them off the 8TH seed. LA CLIPPER is in a free fall from the top seed.

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